Achievement Gap Resources

The racial achievement gap is one of the most pressing public policy concerns facing our towns and our nation. The quality of our public schools—the different experiences and outcomes that students can expect based on their race—is a priority for the Coalition. The Coalition is at the forefront of efforts to address and eliminate the academic achievement gap as an essential element of our effort to create true integration among and within our schools.

The Schools Committee has held forums, workshops and study circles for over 15 years that have looked at how family, teachers, school, and community can positively impact the education of our students of color, in addition to addressing negative forces that impede their progress. The Aim High! Bridging the Gap program included strategies to create a community of educators, students, parents, and others to study and institutionalize initiatives to ameliorate the gap and to improve the quality of our schools through parent advocacy and education, staff development, student engagement, and community involvement. The Schools Committee also produced parent advocacy publications, Top Ten Tips, to help families be effective advocates for their children.

Anti-bias educational practices have been an important component of addressing the racial achievement gap. For more information on those programs and access to resources, click here. 

In 2010, award-winning NPR reporter and now Managing Editor at NJ Public Radio  Nancy Solomon made a documentary Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools are Failing Black Students. It was based on Columbia High School. Ms. Solomon was a Schools Committee member and Coalition Trustee.

To read more about the Achievement Gap, see the following list of books and articles:

Perry, Theresa.  “Competing Theories of Group Achievement,” in“Young, Gifted and Black.” Beacon Press 2003.
Gosa, Travis, Alexander, Karl. Family (Dis)Advantage and the Educational Prospects of Better Off African American Youth:  How Race Still Matters  in Teachers College Record, v 109 (2) February 2007 pp 285-321.
Lareau, Annette. Invisible inequality: Social class and childbearing in black families and white families” in American Sociological Review; Oct 2002
Tough, Paul. Unequal Childhoods chapter in “Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America.” Houghton-Mifflin, 2008. pp 21-52.
Steele, Claude M. 2003, “Stereotype Threat and African-American Student Achievement” in the book “Young, Gifted and Black”
Carter, Prudence. Introduction: Minding the Gap: Race, Ethnicity, Achievement, and Cultural Meaning, in  “Keepin it Real: School Success Beyond Black and White.” Oxford University Press, 2005.
Lopez, Nancy. Race-Gender Experiences and Schooling: Second Generation Dominican, West Indian and Haitian youth in New York City. Race Ethnicity and Education, Vol 5 (1), 2002.
Whiting, G. From At Risk to At Promise: Developing Scholar Identities Among Black Males. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. Vol.XVII, No. 4, Summer 2006, pp. 222-229.
Lei, J. (Un)Necessary Toughness?: Those “Loud Black Girls” and Those “Quiet Asian Boys” in Anthropology & Education Quarterly 34(2):158-181.
Delpit, Lisa. “No Kinda Sense” in The Skin that We Speak, The New Press. 2002.
Gregory, Anne, Nygreen, Kysa, Dana Moran, “The Discipline Gap and the Normalization of Failure” in Unfinished Business: Closing the Racial Achievement Gap in our Schools, edited by Pedro Noguera and Jean Yonemura Wing. Jossey-Bass. 2006.
Solorzano, D. and Yosso, T.  From racial stereotyping and Deficit Discourse Toward a Critical Race Theory in Teacher Education. In Multicultural Education vol. 9 (1)l,  Fall 2001
Ladson-Billings, Gloria. “Culturally-relevant Teaching”, in ”Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children. “ pp.102-126. (1994)
Rubin, Beth. Tracking and Detracking: Debates,Evidence, and Best Practices for a Heterogeneous World. THEORY INTO PRACTICE, 45(1), 4-14. (2005)
Burris, Wiley, Welner and Murphy.  Accountability, Rigor, and Detracking: Achievement Effects of Embracing a Challenging Curriculum As a Universal Good for All Students.  Teachers College Record Volume 110,Number 3, March 2008, pp. 571-607. (2008)
Carter, Prudence. “School Success Has No Color”  in  “Keepin it Real: School Success Beyond Black and White.” Oxford University Press, 2005.
Lawrence, S., Tatum, B.D. White Educators as Allies: Moving from Awareness to Action, in “Off-White: Writings on Power, Privilege and Resistance, by Fine, et al, eds.  pp 362-372. .(2004)
Cole, R. (1995). Educating everybody’s children: Diverse teaching strategies for diverse learners. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Ferguson, R. (2001). A diagnostic analysis of black and white GPA disparities in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
Fine, M., Weis, L. & Mun Wong, L. (1997). Off white: readings on race, power, and society. Routledge.
Gewertz, C. (2002, November 20). No racial gap seen in students’ school outlook. Education Week. Retrieved 2003, January 16 from
Gregory, S.T. (2000). The academic achievement of minority students: perspectives, practices, and prescriptions. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Hildago, N., McDowell, C. & Siddle, E. (1990). Facing racism in education. Harvard Educational Review.
Issel, S. (2001, February). Research and reference on closing the achievement gap. Retrieved 2001, June 29 from
Jencks, C. & Phillips, M. (1998). The black-white test score gap. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American children. Jossey-Bass.
Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. U. California Press.
McWhorter, J. H. (2000). Losing the race: self-sabotage in black America. New York: Free Press.
Matthews, D. (1997, June). The lack of a public for public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 741-743.
Moses, R. P. & Cobb, C. E., Jr. (2001, May/June). Quality education is a civil rights issue. Harvard Education Letter, Vol. 17, No. 3, 8.
Perry, T., Steele, C. & Hilliard, A. (2003). Young, gifted, and black: Promoting high achievement among African American students. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Raising academic achievement: a study of 20 successful programs. (2001). Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum. Available online at
Reaching the top: A report of the National Task Force on minority high achievement. (1999). Available online at
Sadowski, M. (2001, May/June). Closing the gap one school at a time. Harvard Education Letter, Vol. 17, No. 3, 1-7.
Singham, M. (1998, September). The canary in the mine: the achievement gap between black and white students. Phi Delta Kappan, 9-15.
Susskind. Ron.  A Hope in the Unseen,  An American Odyssey. 1998
Tatum Daniel, Beverly (1997). Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? and other conversations about race. New York: Basic Books.
Tough, Paul. “Who Gets to Graduate” New York Times Magazine, May 15, 2014.    
Van Slyke, S. (1997, June). Building community for public schools: challenges and strategies. Phi Delta Kappan, 753-755.
Viadero, D. (2000, March22). Lags in minority achievement defy traditional explanations. Education Week. Retrieved 2003, January 16 from
Viadero, D. (2000, March 20). Students in dire need of good teachers often get the least qualified or less experienced. Education Week. Retrieved 2003, January 16 from
Wright, M. (1998). I’m chocolate, you’re vanilla: a guide for teachers and parents. Jossey-Bass.

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